Should 98% of California Teachers Have Jobs for Life?

"The female pupil involved didn’t want to press charges."


Forget the American Dream. Embedding yourself in a government job for life is the California Dream, which under Obama is swiftly becoming the pathetic warped remnant of the American Dream, as Larry Sand reveals.

In California, a public school teacher can be fired at any time without cause during the first two years of employment. After that, however, about 98 percent of teachers manage to attain tenure—or, more accurately, “permanence.” Principals make tenure decisions in March of a teacher’s second year, which means they have to decide whether to offer such job security to employees with just 16 months on the job...

Labor leaders pushed legislators to expand rights and entitlements for public school teachers—at the expense of educating kids. In the last ten years, only 91 teachers out of about 300,000 (.003 percent) who have attained permanence lost their jobs in California. Of those, only 19 (.0007 percent) have been dismissed for poor performance. Is it possible that Golden State teachers are that good? Such an astronomical permanence rate doesn’t square with the performance of California’s fourth- and eighth-graders, whose scores on National Assessment of Educational Progress tests persistently rank near the bottom...

That so many unworthy teachers remain on the job is a disgrace, and most teachers know it. In fact, in the National Council on Teacher Quality’s recent survey of teachers working in Los Angeles, 68 percent reported that “there were tenured teachers currently working in their schools who should be dismissed for poor performance.” Yet the teachers’ unions, defendants in the Vergara case, remain steadfast in defense of the status quo...

But if tenure goes, California Federation of Teachers president Joshua Pechthalt claims, “teachers will be conditioned into meek compliance for fear of losing their jobs. Academic freedom, the central reason for tenure, would be moot.” Academic freedom? If a K-12 teacher is teaching according to the prescribed state standards—soon to be national standards—what protections does she need?

Academic freedom is a strange claim. A teacher isn't an academic, despite the insanity of pushing to have teachers with graduate degrees. He or she is there to teach a curriculum. The idea that a teacher's academic freedom should be protected is union cynicism at best and protectionism for teachers who push radical ideas in the classroom at its worst.

Teachers are employees. They should be 'compliant'. A big part of the problem with the educational complex is that teachers aren't doing their jobs.

A former colleague of mine reportedly touched one of his middle school students inappropriately. There were witnesses, but the female pupil involved didn’t want to press charges. So administrators let the teacher cool his heels at the district office—the so-called rubber room—before sending him to another school, where he was accused of doing the same thing. Back in the rubber room, earning full pay, he was caught looking at pornography. Again, he was returned to the classroom and in short order was caught showing pornographic materials to female students. Last I heard, he was back in the rubber room, collecting full pay and benefits. He should be kept far away from young people, but thanks to California’s permanence and dismissal statutes, he’s been given multiple opportunities to abuse them.

Here's your academic freedom.